We have to embrace the mess of democracy. But how?

PUTNEY — I feel compelled to respond to Jim Freedman's confusion and distress in his Viewpoint, which I share.

I believe that Donald Trump is a sociopath and is bent on destroying a political system that we call democracy, with the collusion of a sycophant Congress.

I also believe that Donald Trump supports white supremacy, a cultural belief that tolerates if not mandates the disenfranchisement, subjugation, terrorizing and lynching of any persons not “white.”

My sibling is a Trump supporter. It confounds me. I am so far at a loss how to register my disappointment in this person, so close to my heart. I love her and revile the workings of her heart and mind. It is not just politics - it is a way of being in the world, bigger than the cultural statement of religious affiliation. I also have neighbors, with whom I am friendly, whom I like, and who are Trump supporters.

I think - often - about the rise of fascism in Europe and how Hitler came to power and implemented his murderous vision for an improved world. What are we called upon to do - and when?

I was born in 1951 and have lived in a fool's paradise, apparently, to have been so blindsided by the events of 2016. However, all that said, I am grieved by several of Mr. Freedman's statements.

Vermont is not “this land of Sanders.” Sanders is our senator, yes. But by winning a vote to represent us in Congress, Sanders does not paint every one of us with his - or even the Democratic Party's - brush.

Our political processes are not a zero-sum game. Democracy is messy - how many times have we heard that? If there is one thing we have learned from these past four years, it has to be to embrace the mess. Whoever succeeds in cleaning up the mess is our next dictator.

Which leads me to Mr. Freedman's desperate plea: “You are either for or against, with no fraternization permitted.” This remark strikes terror into my heart, no less than any evil Trump or his minions have so far been capable of.

I will continue to fraternize - our survival depends on it. I am as much at a loss how to do it, why to do it, how long to do it as the next person, but I cannot exorcise people whom I know from my life on the basis of a vote or a flag.

Not yet.

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